Nesting

2022 Nest Total - Boca Raton Beaches

  • Leatherback: 19
  • Loggerhead: 898
  • Green: 241

Look at our yearly sea turtle nesting totals from 1988 to the present or visit our Sea Turtle Monitoring System page on seaturtle.org.

About Sea Turtle Nesting

Sea turtle nesting season in South Florida runs from March 1st through October 31st.   Every morning during nesting season the Sea Turtle Conservation Team surveys Boca Raton’s five miles of beach for any new sea turtle activity from the night before.  All nests and “false crawls” (non-nesting emergences) are recorded with GPS.  All new nests are marked off with stakes and a sign to keep the area protected so the eggs are safe during the incubation period.

​​​​​A newly marked nest.

A newly marked sea turtle nest on the beach

Relocating a nest laid too close to the high tide line.

Gumbo Limbo staff relocating a sea turtle nest

The team checks every nest each morning, looking for signs of predators or other issues.  After roughly two months, the team will find signs that a nest has hatched!  The nests usually hatch at night, when as many as a hundred sea turtle hatchlings will scramble to the water, leaving behind tiny tracks.  Three days after a nest hatches out, the team will excavate and take an inventory of what was inside to determine its success.  The contents of the nest are counted and recorded to assist with the state-wide monitoring of sea turtle populations.

Some nests have screens installed on top to keep out predators such as foxes and raccoons.

A nest screen to protect sea turtle nesting

The contents of a nest after it has hatched out; sometimes there's still live hatchlings inside!

The contents of a sea turtle nest after it has hatched out

Any live hatchlings that are found are brought back to Gumbo Limbo Nature Center and are released on the beach at night.  Gumbo Limbo Nature Center hosts Turtle Walk and Hatchling Release programs, which are a wonderful way for the public to learn more about these endangered animals and offer a chance to view these animals up close in their natural surroundings.

Leatherback

Leatherback sea turtle tracks in the sand

Loggerhead

Loggerhead sea turtle tracks in the sand

Green

Green sea turtle tracks in the sand